Meet the Hamilton County Council District 4 candidates

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Four candidates are seeking the Hamilton County Council District 4 seat, which is opening up with current District 4 councilor Paul Ayers deciding not to seek re-election.

Ken Alexander

Name: Ken Alexander

Age: 44

City of residence: Westfield

Occupation: Executive with CTI Construction, LLC

How many years have you lived in Hamilton County?

My family and I have lived in Hamilton County since 2007.

How did you and your family end up in Hamilton County?

After graduating from Purdue, I went to work for Brenwick Development and became familiar with Hamilton County, including graduating from HCLA in 1998. After years of moving around to support large construction projects, I moved to Hamilton County but this time with a wife, dog, cat, two kids and one on the way. There was only one place I wanted to raise my family.

Why do you want to run for elected office?

Over the past years, I’ve grown tired of the lack of civility and the disrespect on display whenever politics becomes the subject of conversation. This is neither productive nor representative of our Founders’ vision. I wanted to make an impact and show others that public service is a valuable and needed trait from our citizenry. After my experience as the director of public works for Westfield, I recognized that I had skills and talents that could help our local communities. I have never liked to work in a place where I didn’t bring value and given the slate of projects and experience from both the private and public sector, it made sense to seek this office to support our county.

What is your previous political experience?

I have never held elected office, but I have worked for the City of Westfield, and I am the only candidate that will bring both public and private sector experience to the role.

What are your top priorities if elected?

• Fiscal responsibility: Make decisions based on sound business principles like understanding the return on investment.

• Create a culture of collaborative and transparent governance.

• Invest in our communities to support responsible economic development.

• Engage and develop young leaders to help shape the future of our communities and provide the leadership in our governmental bodies.

What are the biggest issues facing Hamilton County residents that your office can impact?

As an appropriation body our biggest issues relate to the way our county spends tax dollars. There are a myriad of issues but a few “big picture” thoughts are:

• Hold people accountable to the budgets they agree to manage – project or departmental

• Require a cost benefit analysis or an ROI study to support projects requiring funds

• Properly support and fund our public safety and public infrastructure to prevent the kind of catastrophic issues Indianapolis is facing.

What are your qualifications to run for this office?

I understand the complexities and recognize the challenges of both the public and private sector.

• My depth of knowledge in the world of construction, specifically on public/government projects, will be crucial in helping us support the major transportation and expansion projects that the county is undertaking.

• My work as the director of public works shaped my understanding of the process that must be followed to create transparency.

• My success in securing grants for transportation projects helped me stretch our local tax dollars to support major projects (example, Monon bridge over State Road 32)

What is your favorite thing about Hamilton County?

I have been blessed to have lived throughout the country which gives me a perspective that helped influence our decision to move here from places like Florida, Washington, D.C. and Seattle. What makes Hamilton County unique is the economic strength of its communities that allow us to have a high standard of living (great schools, safe community, reasonable housing costs, etc.) at a low cost.

What changes do you hope to bring about if elected?

I want to change the perception of government. I wish to emulate our founders’ ability to take people of various backgrounds and perspectives who were able to unify under a vision and create things that were in the public’s best interest. We deserve that and should expect that at all levels of government.

Favorite local restaurant: The Italian House (Westfield)

Favorite movie:  “The Lord of the Rings.” It was a book that made me fall in love with reading.

Favorite quote or motto: “I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.” – Abraham Lincoln

Family: Jenni Duffin-Alexander. Sons Andy Duffin (14) and Connor Alexander (9), daughter Katelynn Alexander (11)

Pets: Dog – Rascal

Favorite vacation: Corolla, N.C. (Introduced my family to the place I vacationed as a kid)

Something you’d like readers to know about you:

I am extremely proud of my family’s military service. It was because of that pride that I was crushed when I failed the Navy’s “Lantern Test” during my freshman year at Purdue. It was in that moment that I realized that my dreams of being a Navy Seal were never going to come to pass. It is also the time I realized the impact of God on my life because the next week he presented a new career path for me to follow when I sat in a lecture learning about construction engineering and management.

Something most people don’t know about you:

My great-grandmother (Martha Midgett) lived next to the Wright Brothers in North Carolina when they were testing their airplane. It was her uncle (John T. Daniels) who took the photo of the famous first flight on December 17, 1903, on the dunes in Kitty Hawk, N.C.

Name: Sheldon Barnes

Age: 35

City of residence: Carmel

Occupation: Information technology professional

How many years have you lived in Hamilton County?

eight years

How did you and your family end up in Hamilton County?

I moved to Indiana in 2009. I was told not to move to Carmel or Hamilton County. In 2010, my children moved to Indiana to live with me, and I chose to live in Carmel.

Why do you want to run for elected office?

I realized very early that in Hamilton County, Democrats rarely, if ever, run for local office, and that Republicans often run unopposed. This is a huge disservice to the people because this means that our politicians do not have to make any promises, campaign or hold themselves accountable to the people.

What is your previous political experience?

I’m currently serving as precinct committeeman for Kingsborough 270 Precinct. Over the last three to five years I’ve networked with other precinct committeemen, elected officials and candidates to get a better understanding of why no Democrats run for local office and why Republicans often run unopposed. I love politics, and I keep informed of issues on the local, state and national level.

Have you run for or held an elected office before?

No, and this is a good thing.

What are your top priorities if elected?

Listening to our neighbors, especially people who are not well connected or who may not make it out to our local political events such as our Breakfast Club and Lincoln Day Dinner. We often forget that government is of the people, by the people, and for the people. I will focus first and foremost on the needs of the people.

Listening to the leaders in our various county departments, to include community resources, public safety, justice, infrastructure, county administration and our commissioners to get their view of how they are currently serving the people and what they need to continue doing a good job for the people, and working a lot more efficiently.

Utilizing my influence to ensure that our local governments are collaborating together to end the opioid epidemic.

Helping to make sure that our second-class cities can have a first-class training center for law enforcement and first responders.

What are the biggest issues facing Hamilton County residents that your office can impact?

Opioid epidemic (attacking the root cause)

Collaboration between our local governments so that we can continue to grow in a responsible way.

Preparing for the possibility of a future fiscal crisis.

What are your qualifications to run for this office?

My intent to serve is pure. I will always look out for the people.

Good understanding of our laws.

I have a great understanding of the responsibilities of the county council.

I am an independent voice who is not aligned to any of the various splinter political groups who seem to resent and hate each other over various reasons such as past elections (who supported who, etc.).

What is your favorite thing about Hamilton County?

Hamilton County is the best place to live, work, and play.

What changes do you hope to bring about if elected?

  • Help inspire ordinary people to run for political office, and help to put an end to a professional political class that often run unopposed and that look down people.
  • Help inspire the young generation to public service.
  • Bring new ideas to our most important problems.

Favorite local restaurant: Chili’s Grill & Bar in Westfield

Favorite movie: “Iron Man 2”

Favorite quote or motto: Out of many, one people.

Family: Wife and four children.

Pets: Two Shih tzu-poodles, Oscar fish, and Bitmojis

Favorite vacation: Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Something you’d like readers to know about you:

I am humble, and I get a lot of satisfaction from serving and helping people. I am also a lifelong learner, and if I don’t know something, I will take the time to research and learn.

Something most people don’t know about you:

I love to go running in my precinct, and riding my Fuji Transonic 2.9 road bicycle throughout our county.

Sharp

Name: Rick Sharp

Age: 62

City of residence: Carmel

Occupation: Sales consultant

How many years have you lived in Hamilton County? 26

How did you and your family end up in Hamilton County? We chose Hamilton County primarily for the quality of schools.

Why do you want to run for elected office? I believe my experience in business and my proven record as a fiscal conservative who can stand up to pressure makes me the best qualified candidate for this job.

What is your previous political experience? I served 4 years on the Carmel Clay Plan Commission and 12 years on the Carmel City Council; elected president six times.

What are your top priorities if elected? To insure taxpayer money is spent wisely and offers a real return on investment.

What are the biggest issues facing Hamilton County residents that your office can impact? Keeping taxes low, which makes for a more pro-business environment while benefiting homeowners as well and protecting the county credit rating.

What are your qualifications to run for this office? My 39-year business career spanning large corporate environments down to successfully running a small family business along with my 16 years in public service provides me with a unique perspective and numerous problem solving tools. Also, given my 12-year experience with municipal finance, through my role on Carmel’s fiscal body, I can hit the ground running with no need for on the job training.

What is your favorite thing about Hamilton County? I love the fact that our county is home to so many talented people.

What changes do you hope to bring about if elected? Not so much change as a continuation of collaborating with and advising our County Commissioners on growing the county economy while protecting taxpayers.

Favorite local restaurant: Dooley O’Tooles

Favorite movie: “The Wizard of OZ”

Favorite quote or motto: “Trust but verify,” Ronald Reagan

Family: My wife of 30 years Susan, our three daughters: Sara, Brenna and Rachel and son-in-law David.

Pets: Cats

Favorite vacation: Cape Town, South Africa for our daughter Sara’s wedding to David.

Something you’d like readers to know about you: Giving back to our community through service is a passion for me.

Something most people don’t know about you: I once studied for the priesthood at St. John Vianney Minor Seminary in Miami.

Name: Christine S. Pauley

Age: 57

City of residence: Carmel

Occupation: City of Carmel Clerk Treasurer and executive director of the Carmel Bond Bank

How many years have you lived in Hamilton County? 19 years

How did you and your family end up in Hamilton County? I was raised in a small town in Michigan, graduated from Michigan State University and began a lengthy career in finance-related positions in Virginia and Indianapolis. I moved to Carmel where I continued my professional career and raised my three kids. I fell in love with this community immediately and became active in several local organizations. The high quality of life here (not to mention the low taxes) has made staying in Carmel a very easy decision.

Why do you want to run for elected office? To be the people’s voice by representing their concerns regarding responsible development, public safety issues and infrastructure needs. The County Council is the fiscal body of county governance. I am the only candidate who has been a municipal fiscal officer with real business professional experience. I wish to utilize all that I have learned by serving the citizens of Hamilton County. I want to keep Hamilton County the best place to work, live and play by keeping our taxes one of the lowest in the State.

What is your previous political experience?

1. City of Carmel Clerk Treasurer

2. Executive director of the Carmel Bond Bank

3. Hamilton County Precinct committee member

4. Republican state delegate

5. Hamilton County co-chair of Todd Young for Senate

6. Republican poll watcher for Detroit, Mich.

7. Campaign volunteer for various Republican candidates

What are your top priorities if elected?

1. Strong Local Control by the people

2. Low Tax rates

3. Public Safety improvements to keep crime out of Hamilton County; and to support our fire departments, whose excellence helps keep our insurance rates low.

4. Strategic, fiscally responsible infrastructure investments to support economic development

What are the biggest issues facing Hamilton County residents that your office can impact?

Balancing increased economic development with the need for improved infrastructure assets. We must keep taxes low by being more efficient with our public investing while keeping Hamilton County the best place to live, work and play – a crucial strategy to continue to attract private, commercial investment that keeps our personal property taxes low.

What are your qualifications to run for this office?

I understand public finances and the crucial role a fiscal body must play in ensuring taxpayers get the most bang for their buck. It’s no longer acceptable to simply say we must stop spending … we are a growing county and we must continue to invest in future. But with my experience working as Carmel Clerk-Treasurer, I’ve been able to impact real change. I’ve implemented investment, debt management and internal controls policies in the fiscal process, undertook a full accountability of the City’s $1.1 billion capital asset inventory, saved taxpayers over $1 million through competitive bid process, and oversaw the city’s first CAFR since 2006 with the City receiving the GFOA Excellence in Financial Reporting award. My experience along with my propensity for finding financial solutions for complex funding demands, will be beneficial to the challenges that lay ahead for Hamilton County. My experience extends beyond public finances. Prior to my election, I had a successful career in the corporate world as a professional financial businesswoman. I began my career with the US Navy as Avionics contracts financial manager. After a raising my family, I restarted my career as a contracts manager for Proliance Gas Company and Raytheon Defense.

What is your favorite thing about Hamilton County? I love living in a county that is affordable, safe and with so many great cities and towns, there is always something to do! I especially love the way our county trail system is beginning to connect our communities. I’ve long enjoyed the Monon Greenway for cycling.

What changes do you hope to bring about if elected? Evaluating the cost of doing business by finding areas for efficiency and implementing best business practices.

Favorite local restaurant: Depends on what I crave at that moment. There are so many excellent choices, there are just too many to list. I love finding organic local upstarts that cook with a passion.

Favorite movie: “The Patriot”

Favorite quote or motto: “The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our own money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the dispensation of the public moneys,” Thomas Jefferson E Pluribus Unum “Out of many, one”

Family: Mother of three adult children, Daniel, Susan (Ross Walthall) and Samantha with first grandchild arriving July 2018.

Pets: Currently no pets. Have owned two golden retrievers, cats, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pig, turtles and fish.

Favorite vacation: Ireland and Mackinaw Island

Something you’d like readers to know about you: First generation American of German immigrants, follower of Christ and live with no fear.

Something most people don’t know about you: My father, a construction business owner, taught me how to lay block, pour cement and read blueprints. I grew up a “tomboy.”

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